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Christchurch Car Crunch

NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 12 March 2013 | Views [285]

As we pulled into Christchurch we slammed into the back of a car and had the favor quickly returned.

Haha, a bit of a traumatic start, right?

Still, traveling this long without any major incidents, I suppose we were about due. Nobody was hurt too badly - though I did reskin my toe.

Limping into New Brighton, we checked in to a backpackers and went for a post-shakeup drink when I made a wonderful discovery: there's graffiti in Christchurch! New Zealand has been so wonderfully, wholesomely clean that there just hasn't been any anywhere. Maybe it's fallout from the quake, some sort of shift in values - the city itself sounds somewhat fragile, deserted as a large portion of the population left after the quake.

Still, even if the graffiti is symptomatic, I choose to see it as a positive - it's all bright colors and hopeful messages, a visual expression that there are those who call this home and are willing to work towards a better tomorrow. That said, please don't mistake Christchurch as a battle zone. One of the larger cities I've been in so far, it's still a breathing metropolis. It's just a little tender here and there where the cracks show and the damage hasn't been repaired yet. Part of this is due to the insurance claims - everybody had earthquake insurance, which is great, but all the claims have been tied up for years in court as both the insurance companies and the government (which is partially liable for restitution) attempt to finagle lesser payouts. It's sad, and in the meantime the people of Christchurch limp along as best they can.

There doesn't seem to be a lot to do here, but I'm not so interested in flower shows and botanical gardens - they've got those aplenty. We did manage to find a bar built into an old railroad car in the middle of the city, however, and had some drinks with a group of five very friendly Canadians (are there any other kinds?).

Tags: accident, disaster, on the road

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